29 July 2012

A well-earned hiatus

Goodness me, it's been ages since I've posted anything to the VFB. Attention has been elsewhere - at Slightly Intrepid, my main blogging focus, to be precise. With regret, I should probably mark the retirement of the site as a going concern. Generally, when I come across the sort of material that would have once been earmarked for this site, it now goes onto the aforementioned SI blog or just onto Facebook where relatively like-minded souls might enjoy it.

The Very Friday Blog started in late 2000 or early 2001 as an email circular, heavily indebted to Deeknow, who included me on his own mailing list. I copied the idea and set about spreading timewasting internet ephemera in time for Friday morning-tea, mainly to divert my then work colleagues. I still have a batch of those old Word version Very Friday Emails (VFEs), and they progressively increased in size as I secured more source material. VFE4 in February 2001, the earliest one I still have, was a modest five pages, while VFE108 from April 2005 (the last Word version I have) weighed in at a hefty 22 pages.

I tested the waters of online publishing early on, with an abortive attempt to use the now-defunct Homestead hosting site in 2002. Surprisingly, that Very Friday site is still up - from memory I got locked out of editing it somehow, and in any case the Homestead interface was annoying to work with. Much later I settled on the now-prominent Blogger network, and in May 2005 I made my first post to this blog - a typically brief joke about no-smoking areas in French restaurants. Following in its wake were 1226 other posts, with the most popular tag being the general all-purpose 'nifty' appellation (344 posts) followed by 'NZ' (152 posts), which generally consisted of peculiar stories from New Zealand's regional newspapers, which may never have graced the blogosphere, I like to think.

Certain sources became the mainstay of the VFE back-catalogue. The Onion, naturally, but also Private Eye, Popbitch, Buzz.se and Lileks were amongst the roster. Plus the aforementioned trawls through the more obscure portions of the Stuff.co.nz stable - the Timaru Herald and the Southland Times often providing sterling service in this regard. And in examining the blog traffic stats, certain posts regularly rose to the top of the ratings. Here's the top 5 Very Friday Blog posts by views in the past four years, according to Blogger:

  1. Let's all go get positively alabandical (2006, 975 views)
  2. Hens in the skirting board (2009, 550 views)
  3. Illiterate spirit frustrates Ouija-Board players (2006, 431 views)
  4. Penguin bat game (2005, 399 views)
  5. Rosamund Pike spices up the Baftas (2011, 348 views) 

It warms my heart to think that in 12 years I have in some small way filled vital and hitherto uncharted gaps in the internet's understanding of the human condition, and the above list illustrates this point marvellously. Who could fail to love the word 'alabandical', for which my post is the second-listed search result on Google? Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiques sketch, containing a top performance from Julie Walters and the singular 'hens in the skirting board' line, does even better, being the number one Google result. Clearly, not that many people search Google for that exact phrase, but if they do - or better yet, if they hit 'I'm Feeling Lucky', if anyone does that these days - they come straight to the VFB. Job well done, that. Although it only provides a few words and links to the Youtube video, so I can't claim to have added an awful lot of value. The Ouija-Board item is a good representative of the traditional paragraph length pieces from The Onion that were perfect VFB fodder. And the Penguin Bat Game has long featured in my top posts, being popular with surfers across the world, particularly those from US military addresses. (That link above no longer works, but you can find it here, or at least one very like it). And lastly, a bit of live TV gold from last year's Baftas, with the lovely Rosamund Pike nearly giving the game away.

I'm only sorry there wasn't room in the list for the incomparably excellent Monkey Diving dame, which caused so many lost hours of productivity in certain early 21st century workplaces. There have also been brushes with fame, like the visit and comment from the judge from the Philippines accused of consulting imaginary mystical dwarves when forming his verdicts, and the brief flamewar with a promoter of the thoroughly stylish and not-at-all-silly-looking mantyhose. Yes, it is what you think it is.

So, unless I change my mind, this will be the last VFB post for the time being. Head on over to Slightly Intrepid for a mix of Very Friday-ish things and the odd photograph or travel blog. And thank you for visiting!